A trust based approach to mobile multi-agent systems.
This thesis undertakes to provide an architecture and understanding of the incorporation of trust into the paradigm of mobile multi-agent systems. Trust deliberation is a soft security approach to the problem of mobile agent security whereby an agent is protected from the malicious behaviour of others within the system. Using a trust approach capitalises on observing malicious behaviour rather than preventing it. We adopt an architectural approach to trust such than we do not provide a model in itself, numerous mathematical models for the calculation of trust based on a history of observations already exist. Rather we look to provide the framework enabling such models to be utilised by mobile agents. As trust is subjective we envisage a system whereby individual agents will use different trust models or different weighting mechanisms. Three architectures are provided. Centralised whereby the platform itself provides all of the services needed by an agent to make observations and calculate trust. Decentralised in which each individual agent is responsible for making observations, communicating trust and the calculation of its own trust in others. A hybrid architecture such that trust mechanisms are provided by the platform and additionally are embedded within the agents themselves. As an optimisation of the architectures proposed in this thesis, we introduce the notion of trust communities. A community is used as a means to represent the trust information in categorisations dependant upon various properties. Optimisation occurs in two ways; firstly with subjective communities and secondly with system communities. A customised implementation framework of the architectures is introduced in the form of our TEMPLE (Trust Enabled Mobile-agent PLatform Environment) and stands as the underpinning of a case-study implementation in order to provide empirical evidence in the form of scenario test-bed data as to the effectiveness of each architecture. The case study chosen for use in a trust based system is that of a fish market' as given the number of interactions, entities, and migration of agents involved in the system thus, providing substantial output data based upon the trust decisions made by agents. Hence, a good indicator of the effectiveness of equipping agents with trust ability using our architectures.
- PhD